Every Monday and occasionally on Wednesdays, the Yucatan is visited by a Carnival Lines cruiseship and hundreds of visitors disembark to enjoy a cool cerveza on the beach, fight with the never-ending parade of vendors selling everything from hammocks to shells to Cuban cigars to pirated DVD's, or perhaps take a tour inland to see the sites.
The majority of folks are comfortable traveling in large groups with a set itinerary and a defined structure to their day.
For the more adventurous types who want to get away from the rest of the pack, there is Lawsons Yucatan. Our tours are completely flexible and have no itineraries or schedules to follow. We do what YOU want to do.
That said, there are some routes that are very popular and so we have set them up as tours here. These are private tours, and only for your family or group. We cover the basics, and then throw in extras that you won't get with the big tours or some of the other local options.
Here they are. Remember, they can ALL be tweaked to YOUR specifications, because it's about what YOU want to do.
UPDATE: Please have a look at the article Cenotes on this site which will tell you a little about the cenotes and the options out there in the limited time frame you have in port: http://lawsonsdriving.blogspot.mx/2012/10/for-cruisers-scoop-on-cenotes.html
Merida and Dzibilchaltun - Our air conditioned van and driver (the driver is not air conditioned, but the van is) plus Yours Truly will pick you up in Progreso and whisk you off to downtown Merida where we will check out the cathedral, the state government building, some other sites and/or quick shopping and the main square, before enjoying a local sherbet at the Sorbeteria Colon which has been delighting locals and visitors alike since 1905 with their fresh fruit sherbets made from exotic local fruit.
|These arches are not golden but they are the home to the Sorbeteria Colon, open here since 1907 |
in the heart of the colonial city of Merida
THEN, we head out to visit Dzibilchaltun. The reason we do this AFTER Merida is because by that time everyone else is already on the way out and we can enjoy the cenote and the ruins a little more. A guide is included to give you a bit of historical perspective on what it is you are seeing. Of course, a visit to Dzibilchaltun would not be complete without a swim in the cenote, for which we provide towels.
|The Temple of the 7 Dolls at Dzibilchaltun|
|You can swim among the water lilies in the cenote Xlacah at Dzibilchaltun|
Finally, we drive back to Progreso after a fun-filled and experience-packed day!
Everything you just read about (tacos, sherbets, guide, entry to ruins, transportation) as well as:
- a cooler with refreshments of your choice (beer, water, wine, sodas)
- towels if you need them for swimming
A number of cruisers have taken this tour and while Carnival does a similar tour, ours is better and everyone loves it! References available on request.
The Three Cenotes of Chunkanan - Our air conditioned van and driver will pick you up in Progreso and whisk you off to visit three of the better-known cenotes in the Yucatan: the cenotes of Chunkanan (also known as the Cuzama cenotes).
Ideal for all ages, the chance to swim in an underground cenote is something you shouldn't pass up. Lifejackets, snorkel and masks (upon request) and towels are available. Along the way, plenty of little towns and a chance to chat and ask any questions you might have on the Yucatan.
Mayapan and Cenote - Our air conditioned van and driver will pick you up in Progreso and whisk you off on a tour of some of the Yucatans more interesting pueblos and the ruins of the Mayan city of Mayapan, which back in the day, defeated both Uxmal and Chichen Itza together which makes it a pretty important Mayan city and definitely worth a visit. There is almost no one there, as it is off the beaten track, so you won't be running into a gazillion people there.
If you are not visiting the cenote later, you will have time to stop in the town of Acanceh, with its impressive Mayan pyramid right in the middle of the town square and bustling market where you can have a local breakfast of panuchos or salbutes (included). Also, popping into Tecoh, a charming little town with a fabulous church worth visiting and taking photos of is another option. Then, it's Mayapan and a guided tour and a chance to climb to the top of the main pyramid for a fantastic view.
On the way back, you can stop at tiny Telchaquillo, where you can see Mayan stones embedded in the local church and visit a cenote in the middle of town. If you have chosen the cenote option, from Telchaquillo you will visit a larger cenote nearby.
From there it's a hop skip and a jump and we are back in Progreso. OK, it might be a little longer than just a hop, skip and a jump, but it's a straight shot from Telchaquillo out to Progreso.
All trips include a cooler with refreshments of your choice (beer, water, wine, sodas) and towels if you want to swim. Depending on which places interest you, all entrance fees are included as well in the quote we prepare for you.
Price varies on the number of people in the group, so let us know how many you are and we will get you a quote right away! Our vans are 13 passenger Toyota or 15 passenger Chevrolet or Ford vans. A deposit is required (PayPal) for all excursions.
A number of cruisers have taken this tour and everyone loves it! References available on request.
Arts, Crafts, Plantations and Lunch - Our air conditioned van and driver will pick you up in Progreso and whisk you off on a tour to a selection of artisans shops located on the road to Uxmal. One of these is a shop specializing in recreations of Mayan art that have been bought by museums in the United States and Europe. The other is on top of the only hill on the road to Uxmal from where we will take some photos and enjoy the view while visiting the shop there. For the more adventurous, we can hike down the hill and have a look at an entrance to a cave. Climbing in is possible, but your dancing clothes will get dirty. :)
|Fabulous art made from gourds at Pedros hilltop artisan shop|
Then, we head back towards Merida, stopping at the Hacienda Ochil, a former plantation that has been partially restored and has a nice Yucatecan food restaurant (lunch included) as well as artisans workshops who create wonderful pieces in locally quarried (lime)stone and local fibers colored by all natural methods used since the days of the Mayans, hundred of years ago.
|A view of the restaurant at the Hacienda Ochil|
After lunch another plantation stop at Yaxcopoil where we admire (and tour) one of the most magnificent haciendas in the Yucatan that is complete with books, crystal and dishes and is literally crumbling beneath your feet.
Then it's back into the van and off to Progreso to enjoy some time on the beach before getting back on the ship.
Everything you just read about as well as:
- my (or another fabulous host's) entertaining company
- entry fee to Yaxcopoil
- entry to the cave (optional)
- tips for driver and tour person at Yaxcopoil
- a cooler with refreshments of your choice (beer, water, wine, sodas)
This is a new tour option.